Karl Springer’s signature styles were classical Chinese and Art Deco, the latter inspired by his predecessors Ruhlmann and Jean-Michel Frank. Other influences seen in his creations ranged from the Bauhaus of Germany, his native country, to the Ashanti of Africa. Craftsmen around the world implemented his designs and he traveled widely to oversee the workshops and to scout for new ideas, forms and materials. 1 2
Mr. Springer was credited with reviving shagreen, the rough skin of an Asian shark, which had been popular as a fabric in the 1920’s but had fallen out of favor. He brought the use of lacquered parchment back into furniture manufacture as well and also worked with inlaid-wood veneers, rare woods, metals, faux finishes and granite.
Karl Springer managed to establish his first, tiny workshop in the early 1960’s and started concentrating on furniture design in 1965. His business flourished after the Duchess of Windsor came across his designs and praised them to her many acquaintances.
“Once I was discovered by the Duchess and her circle, I probably could have gone on making little leather phone tables forever,” he told an interviewer two years ago, laughing. “But you need a challenge.”
As part of our burgeoning contemporary offerings, Garden Court Antiques has recently acquired an exceptional vintage Karl Springer banker’s coffee table covered in a cream-colored shagreen from the 1980’s. ^jh
Further readings and sources:
- Excerpted from “Karl Springer, 60, a Designer Of Classic and Exotic Furniture” by Wolfgang Saxon, Dec. 6, 1991, Section D, Page 21 of the National edition The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/06/nyregion/karl-springer-60-a-designer-of-classic-and-exotic-furniture.html ↩
- See also: The Man, https://karlspringerfurniture.com/the-man ↩
- “Todd Merrill Reissues Karl Springer’s Iconic Furnishings” By Hannah Martin August 18, 2017, Architectural Digest. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/ ↩